STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2295
RE: S.B. No. 2210
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2018
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Transportation and Energy and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 2210 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VOTING,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to automatically register people to vote when they apply for a new or renewed driver's license, provisional license, instruction permit, limited purpose driver's license, limited purpose provisional license, limited purpose instruction permit, or identification card; provided that applicants are allowed to opt out of automatic voter registration.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Elections; Office of the City Clerk, City and County of Honolulu; Sierra Club of Hawaii; Oahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities for the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law & Economic Justice; We Are One, Inc.; Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action; League of Women Voters of Hawaii; Americans for Democratic Action; Common Cause Hawaii; Planned Parent Votes Northwest and Hawaii; and eighteen individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual.
Your Committees find that automatic voter registration removes barriers to the electoral process and maximizes voter registration. Automatic voter registration strengthens democracy and modernizes elections. In addition, if implemented well, elections can be more secure. Your Committees note the numerous testifiers who mentioned the status Hawaii has as the state with the lowest turnout in the country for over a decade, and their hopes that instituting automatic voter registration will increase involvement in the democratic process.
Your Committees have heard the testimony expressing concern that certain applicants who apply for limited purpose driver's licenses, limited purpose provisional driver's licenses, limited purpose instruction permits, and identification cards might not be authorized to vote, and that automatically registering these applicants might inadvertently result in severe repercussions for these applicants. Your Committees find that this raises concerns that merit further consideration and requests that your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means examine those issues and concerns.
Your Committees have also heard the testimony of Common Cause Hawaii that the Department of Transportation and Office of Elections have entered into a memorandum of agreement allowing for the electronic transfer of information for voter registration purposes and that certain language in section 2 of S.B. No. 2232 would help to address the electronic sharing of information between the Department and the Office of Elections while ensuring the integrity of the State's voter rolls.
As such, your Committees have amended this measure by inserting language from S.B. No. 2232 to:
(1) Clarify that the Examiner of Drivers shall not transmit to the counties any information necessary to register an applicant as a voter if that applicant affirmatively declines to be registered to vote;
(2) Require that databases maintained by the Department of Transportation containing certain pertinent information be directly accessible by, and provided electronically to, election officials and the statewide voter registration system for certain purposes; and
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Transportation and Energy and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2210, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2210, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Transportation and Energy and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs,
CLARENCE K. NISHIHARA, Chair
LORRAINE R. INOUYE, Chair